Halsey Institute interns will react to artist statements submitted by Young Contemporaries 2020 artists. In this post, Grace Edson dives deeper into Jess Davison’s artist statement. Davison had six pieces accepted into the exhibition in addition to winning the Best in Printmaking award for her piece The Emperor.
Jess Davison’s Artist Statement:
My art enables me to communicate my experiences visually. I focus on portraiture, and I make images that involve much detail, that allows the image to come to life for the viewer.
I incorporate my thoughts, ideas, and feelings into a piece in order to create a more in-depth image for a viewer to see. Each work represents how I feel about the idea, the person, or the inspiration. I convey those feelings by using layering of color, shapes, and designs. Each piece has a psychological element to it, capturing an intimate moment or feeling between me and my subject.
While this may make it harder for a viewer to find the purpose within my work, I would like my viewer to come to the work free of expectation and understanding.
An artist statement is one of the keys to unlocking the meanings and stories that go along with the works created by an artist. These statements give the viewer an insight into the mind of the artist as well as a better understanding of the works in which they create. Jess Davison, an artist whose six works (three prints and three paintings) are exhibited in the Halsey Institute’s Young Contemporaries 2020 exhibition, gives us insight into what her pieces mean to her as well as what she hopes to convey to the viewer.
Grace Edson’s Analysis:
I have always thought that through the power of visual art, we, as viewers, are able to experience stories that the artist portrays through their pieces. Within each of Davison’s pieces, there is a story and with that story comes emotional expression that the viewer is able to capture and hold on to. In Jess’s artist statement, she states that her “art enables [her] to communicate [her] experiences visually” and through the power of her paintings she is able to “incorporate [her] thoughts, ideas, and feelings into a piece in order to create a more in-depth image for a viewer to see.” Jess’s paintings focus on the portraiture of different people with some more abstract than others and explains that she “makes images that involve much detail, that allows the image to come to life for the viewer.” Davison’s paintings are different and tell their own story but she explains that with each portrait, she is able to portray the way in which she feels “about the idea, the person, or the inspiration” and convey these expressions to the viewer. The inspiration and emotion of each portrait is conveyed “by using layering of color, shapes, and designs” but there is not only just an emotional aspect to her paintings but there is a psychological one she hopes to express as well. Viewers are invited to look at the snapshot that captures “an intimate moment or feeling between [Davison] and [her] subjects.”
Through the power of Jess Davison’s portraits, whether it be the intense feeling of an intimate moment between the subject and the artist, or the abstraction that is created in some of these works, the viewer is able to grasp the short story behind each piece. The moments that are portrayed through these portraits are unfamiliar to observers which Davison explains “may make it harder for a viewer to find the purpose within [her] work,” but hopes that each viewer “come to the work free of expectation and understanding.” Davison’s artist statement explains the meaning of her pieces from an artist’s perspective and helps viewers to understand the emotional and psychological expression he hopes to portray. With this artist statement, we as viewers are able to interpret these portraits from the viewpoint of an artist but at the same time, are also able to create our own interpretation and understanding.
See all of Jess Davison’s work in the virtual Young Contemporaries 2020 exhibition here!
Image credits, listed in order: Maddie, 2020, oil paint; The Fool, 2019, lithograph; Angus, 2020, oil paint; The Magician, 2019, lithograph; Truesdale, 2020, oil paint; The Emperor, 2019, lithograph